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The Network Revolution: Creating Value Through Platforms, People and Technology | Knowledge@Wharton

“Society is undergoing tremendous change right now — the sharing and collaboration practices of the Internet are extending to transportation (Uber), hotels (Airbnb), financing (Kickstarter, LendingClub) and music services (Spotify). The rise of the collaborative economy, of which the Open Source community is a part, should be a powerful message for the business community. It is the established, proprietary vendors whose business models are at risk, and not the other way around.”
— Dries Buytaert, Founder of Drupal

7OG1z6kOg7-1920x1200 diadrKlaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, stated earlier this year that he believes we are experiencing the fourth industrial revolution. This is a revolution of networks, platforms, people, and digital technology that is “blurring the lines between physical, digital and biological spheres.” Our research supports this theory. We believe that digital networks are the key differentiator, which tie together these spheres in a way that enables new forms of sharing, distributed intelligence and value creation.

This revolution marks a critical inflection point. We are navigating great, worldwide shifts from physical to digital, closed-source to open-source and linear to exponential. New forms of assets (intangibles) and new ways of doing business (networks) mean that the formal frameworks and foundations used globally to design, measure and value organizations by investors, leaders, regulators, economists and accountants are increasingly inadequate and misleading, leading to the misallocation of limited human and financial resources.

A few leaders and investors saw this shift coming and have benefited greatly — just look at the unicorns. But most leaders and investors were not so prescient. It’s now time for all business leaders, economists, educators and investors to recalibrate and adjust — and quickly. Funding, investors, customers and talent are all flowing towards digital networks.




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